Wednesday, May 18, 2011

CBS fall 2011 lineup

     Right in the middle of season finale madnesses, the networks are releasing their fall schedules, handing down decisions on what goes and stays. CBS probably has the least amount of change of any of the major networks, but there are a few new series, and some timeslots shifting around. Here goes:

     Monday stays essentially the same, though Mad Love is canceled, and 2 Broke Girls is in. Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) and vritual unknown Beth Behrs play the titular roommates from a script Whitney Cummings helps write. Ironic, since she has her own sitcom on another network. Matthew Moy (Scrubs), Garrett Morris (Saturday Night Live) and Jonathan Kite co-star. How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men (with Ashton Kutcher instead of Charlie Sheen), Mike & Molly, and Hawaii Five-0 stay put.

     Tuesday nights deliver the one-two punch of NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles. They are joined by new series Unforgettable. Poppy Montgomery (Without a Trace) plays a cop with an impecable memory, and Dylan Walsh (Nip/Tuck) is her boss slash ex. Kevin Rankin (Justified) also stars.

     Wednesdays consist of Survivor, Criminal Minds, and CSI at a new night and time. Because, with CBS, one can never have enough reality and crime shows. Which is a nice way of saying, don't watch. It's a waste of time.

     Thursday night retains The Big Bang Theory and the horrible piece of junk that is The Mentalist. In between, is a promising new sitcom called How to Be a Gentleman starring Mary Lynn Rajskub (24), Kevin Dillon (Entourage), David Hornsby (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and Rhys Darby (The Flight of The Conchords) and Person of Interest. Although the latter is yet another crime show, it does boast J.J. Abrams creds and an interesting premise. A billionaire played by Michael Emerson (Lost) assists a cop everyone thought was dead, played by James Caviezel (The Prisoner) The series also stars Taraji P. Henson (Boston Legal) and Kevin Chapman (Mystic River). So Thursday nights may be the best night for CBS, as long as the channel turns at 10 p.m.

     Friday ends with the week with A Gifted Man, a medical drama starring Patrick Wilson (Angels in America), who is searching for meaning in his life with the help of his deceased spouse, played by Jennifer Ehle (Pride & Prejudice). Julie Benz (Dexter) plays the doctor's very caring, but overworked single mother sister. CSI: NY and Blue Bloods finish off the night.

     Besides reruns and 48 Hours Mystery, CBS curiously will present new episodes of Rules of Engagement on Saturdays, which puts the sitcom out all by itself on the weekend night. Will that spell its death, or a brilliant new seven-nights-of-original-programming strategy? Most likely, the former.

     The brilliant series The Good Wife, CBS's best drama by far, moves to Sundays! Which is a bright spot, because the rest of the evening contains 60 Minutes, The Amazing Race, and CSI: Miami. But did I mention The Good Wife?

     Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, $#*! My Dad Says and The Defenders. Sorry if you liked any of those. But if you did, it's time to have a long overdue talk about what qualifies as worthwhile television.

     Mid-season will bring back a third outing of Undercover Boss, as well as the new series The 2-2, a self-described gritty crime drama starring Leelee Sobieski (Joan of Arc), Adam Goldberg (The Unusuals), and Terry Kinney (Oz).

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